Michael Staines
Michael Staines

10.35 28 Feb 2020


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Aer Lingus owner IAG has announced plans to reduce its flights to Italy and Europe in the coming days as a result of the coronavirus.

The International Airlines Group was due to publish its earnings outlook today; however, it said it is “not possible to give accurate profit guidance given the ongoing uncertainty on the potential impact and duration of COVID-19.”

The group, which also owns Iberia and British Airways, said it has seen a drop in demand on Asian and European routes.

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It said the cancellation of industry events and corporate travel restrictions put in place by some companies had seen a drop-off in business travel.

Flight reductions

It has already suspended some Asian flights to mainland China and reduced some other services in Asia.

It said it has seen a significant drop-off in its Italian routes and warned that it will be reducing flights to the country in the coming days.

It said it also expects to cut flights across its wider short-haul network in the coming days.

"Weaker demand"

IAG Chief Executive Willie Walsh said earnings have been hit by “weaker demand.”

“It isn’t a significant impact but clearly we don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow, next week or the week after,” he said.

“So, given that is the case we are unable to give accurate guidance at this point.”

Resilient

The company said its airlines will continue to take actions to “better match supply to demand in line with the evolving situation.”

“IAG is resilient with a strong balance sheet and substantial cash liquidity to withstand the current weakness,” it said.

“We have a management team experienced in similar situations and have demonstrated that we can respond quickly to changing market conditions. We are strongly positioned for the expected recovery in demand.”

IAG saw its shares down nearly 8% early trading on the FTSE-100 today.

Meanwhile, British carrier Easyjet has also announced plans to cut European flights.


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